In an English Country Garden

Last week we saw four tiny and very active toads on our evening stroll. A couple of days ago I saw some other youngsters that made me think of Wind in the Willows (more than seeing willows) There was a lot of scurrying in the undergrowth, leaving me relieved that I only saw them just as we were going to leave the mooring, rather than the previous night. I have seen a few molehills but never spotted the animal, but on the same stretch as the rats I did see this Mole twice. It’s a traditional English tale. I am just itching to see a badger to complete the set(t).

Ratty is averred to be a water vole, not a rat. They are a lot harder to spot that rats. We only went a short way as there was plenty of rain and quite a bit of wind about the willows. So we have not hammered along. Shane spent some time building and painting a shelf for a new speaker. It also will act as a deflector of heat from the TV, when we need heating. I wasn’t keen on the noise of the power tools or the smell of paint, while I was cooking, but he has completed the task without any revisions, spilt paint, injuries, job dissatisfaction or having to run to a DIY store at any time so that is a complete success.

Shane checking out the shelf position, before painting and mounting

During a video chat, my friend Margaret told me there was a garden near where we were so we decided to go along and see the RHS Wisley gardens. We were surprised at the price, but we have perhaps been spoiled by the presence of a free royal botanic garden in Edinburgh. They did very reduced entry to some groups (pensioner, on universal credit, NHS employee – special 75th anniversary offer) but we didn’t quite fit those categories, and there was a slight reduction if you came without a car. We were certainly going to do that. We had thought to walk but there was no off road route and no pavement so we went back and got the tandem. There would be plenty walking once we got there. Unusually there was a covered cycle parking area, and the tandem almost fitted under it. We did wonder how you prove you came in foot or by bike. Would any evidence be needed? We didn’t have Strava running or anything.

As it was Shane just said he wanted two car free tickets and she asked how we found the journey It actually wasn’t clear whether she was asking standard questions or if lady was just wanting a welcoming friendly chat about canal boating.

We had thought a mid week visit might be quiet, but there were quite a few school groups and the recent wet weather may have meant twice as many people coming as soon as the sun came. It was certainly a good time to take appreciate floral scents as the rose garden, sweet peas and lavender were in full bloom. There was a striking array of colours, and some far from familiar plants. Shane thought one label said Japanese bamboo, but it actually said Japanese banana.

There were glasshouses too and ponds with impressive array of waterlilies. Shane pointed out a crocodile in the water, then I pointed out it was hippo. He blamed his watery eyes. He didn’t sneeze or complain of hay fever. The cactii would certainly make your eyes water if you used them as a seat. They were certainly large enough to sit on.

We had moved the boat forward a short distance out from the shady spot we had moored overnight and the batteries were at 100% when we got back and after a bit of being holed up it was good to get a walk and cycle. We had made good use of the sunny hours and managed to move the boat through a lock before the next shower of rain.